Mobili, as in mobilizing–a poor attempt at a translingual pun (should be “si stanno mobilizzando” says my Italian friend, not “mobili” as in the line from Rigoletto). But if the pun is bad, the move is good–for Italy.

Today’s Times boasts an op-ed by Chiara Volpato on some Italian women’s response to Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi’s sexist treatment of one half of his citizenry:
Italian Women Rise Up

Pointing to big gender inequalities at home and in the workplace, very different from situations in other European countries, Volpato goes on to note that:

“The Italian media only exacerbate this bleak reality by presenting a picture of women that is incomprehensible to the rest of Europe. Private TV channels have started to broadcast images of women who are typically lightly dressed and silent beauties serving as decoration while older, fully dressed men are running the show. (It is worth noting here that Mr. Berlusconi owns the leading private television networks.)

“The impact of years of brainwashing is plain to see: recent research demonstrated that the most popular ambition among female teenagers is to become a velina (basically a showgirl). Young women and girls are consistently taught that their bodies, rather than their abilities and their knowledge, are the key to success. At the same time, the sexism portrayed on TV reinforces chauvinistic ideas among the culturally weakest parts of the population. Researchers who study female body objectification need only look to Italy to witness the sad consequences of this phenomenon.”

But women are increasingly fed up with this treatment, and are moving to change it. Bravissime!

(Volpato links the bad treatment women face in Italy to the low birthrate there, a connection made in earlier work, including a June article in the Times Magazine by Russell Shorto, called No Babies?)


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